Last week I attended the student run lecture, “There’s more to me than you see.” Essentially it was an event where Loyola students discussed how they have experienced discrimination, whether it is because of race, religion, sexuality or a disability, on campus. These several students opened the eyes of everyone that attended the lecture and provided the basics of what is needed to help fight against discrimination on campus, the aspect of knowledge. Knowledge is the key to overcome all forms of discrimination and stories told from the mouths of the victims seem to be the most effective way to promote this knowledge. If this knowledge can be taught and learned by students, it is possible that everyone, at least in the Loyola Community, will have the fundamental values of dignity and freedom, which everyone is deserved, respected entirely by the Loyola Community.
During the lecture, students told first person encounters of how they were discriminately victimized by others on the Loyola campus. The first speaker told of how he and some fellow students encountered a desperate student and attempted to help them. Through trying to help this student, the speaker was discriminated against because of his race, and even though he was just trying to help, he in turn came out to be a victim just because of his race. Another student discussed how they were discriminated against because of his disability. He noted that several of his fellow teammates were actually the ones who made judgments against him. When the idea of a team is brought up, one would think that everyone is together and for the best of the team as a whole and wouldn’t put one person below another no matter what. It usually requires a team effort to win in situations where you are not competing alone. It would appear from personal experiences with family members with a disability in the past, is that it is easier for someone to discriminate or make judgments against someone with a disability because there is lack of knowledge about those people. I believe that these types of talks with first person victim stories, although it is horrible to think about, seems to be the only way to teach the knowledge of how to overcome discrimination.
The speakers’ stories made me think about if I have ever encountered discrimination in my own life, and the simple answer is yes. And the first thing that came to my mind was when I was in middle school, a student was gradually harassed, starting with small comments here and there, because of his race and eventually had to leave the school because he couldn’t take it anymore. That experience made me realize that even the smallest judgments could lead to larger problems and eventually destroy someone, and that the students had no knowledge about this kid, who he was, or how he felt.
This lecture can relate to the poem “(Untitled)” by Peter Meinke, for he is telling about how he has remorse towards his son. He realizes that he may have degraded his son and not encouraged him enough or may have in the wrong way, and that he did not provide the most positive outlook for his son. It may have taken some time, but now he realizes what he truly did to his son and knows that it was not for the better and is trying to overcome the past situations and lead a better life for his son. The speaker understands now that his son deserves the same respect, freedom and dignity just as anyone else does in the world. And I believe he realized that he used his son as a punching bag almost and is now regretting what he put his son through, and now understands that it was uncalled for and not necessary.
The name of the lecture, “There’s more to me than you see,” clearly states that there is a sense that knowledge about what his happening in their communities needs to be taught and acted upon before tragic things happen and it is too late. Obviously this needs not to only happen on the Loyola campus but also in the entire world community. People are discriminated everywhere nowadays; on TV, the radio, movies, magazines, the list goes on. It needs to be taught that everyone deserves the same life values of freedom, dignity and respect, and that some may realize until its too late, that even the smallest of judgments have an impact and can lead to unwanted situations.